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5 Urban Myths about Copyright

It’s not easy being a creator. From idea to execution, it takes effort, energy, and years of hard work. But creators are often unaware of their rights and have to deal with a lot of misinformation around copyright.  

Here are 5 myths about copyright that they should be aware of. 

#1 Ideas can be copyright protected.

Ideas may be the most important part of being creative, but they can’t be “stolen” as they technically don’t belong to anyone. That’s the reason why they also can’t be copyright-protected. By “ideas,” I don’t mean patent ideas and inventions, of course, which also can’t be copyright protected. 

They can be trademarked and registered as patents. Either way, I think you know where I’m going with this: Many people can work on the same idea, and produce a totally different result. An idea can’t be copyright protected because it doesn’t mean much unless you put the work into making it a reality. An idea needs to become “tangible” for it to be copyright protected. 

The Pareto rule of 20/80 suggests that it’s 20% idea and 80% execution, and if you take a moment and think about it you’ll see that it’s true for you as well. 

An idea is conceived at the speed of light, yet an artist puts hours, days, and months into making that idea a reality. It is work and energy that make a creation significant – not the idea. 

Furthermore, the idea that inspires an artist to create a work of art can be dull or seem insignificant to others. 

We all have an unreasonable fear of sharing ideas and having them stolen. As far as I’m concerned, that actually limits creativity – and does not enhance it. 

#2 Copyright is automatic, so why register? 

Copyright is indeed “automatic”, but copyright registration is not. According to the Berne Convention, the legal framework that governs copyright globally, copyright is awarded automatically when a work is created after significant mental activity. 

However, the beneficiary of the work is the person who has the strongest and earliest proof of ownership of it. 

That’s exactly why registering a copyright is so important. It generates evidence about who the owner of the copyright is and when this copyright was claimed. 

Therefore, while timing is important, the proof of copyright also needs to be indisputable. Without registration, there is no evidence that can stand in a court of law when disputing ownership. 

#3 Copyright registration is useless, I’ve never used it in my life. 

Copyright registration is only “useless” if a creator considers their art a hobby. If they want to make a living, copyright registration is not only useful but necessary. It’s their ticket to generating revenue from their intellectual property. 

Having proof of copyright ownership over a creation allows an artist to claim damages in case of infringement, and perhaps most importantly, allows them to license their work – or even sell rights to it. 

An artist can own the copyright, but might not own the evidence of this ownership. When two artists claim to both own the copyright of a certain creation it will be one’s word against the other. 

And what happens when two people co-create a work of art, which then becomes famous? 

In the beginning, both are happy for the collaboration and proud of the work they created. They’re not thinking about what will happen if their work becomes a source of revenue for them. 

The story often ends in disagreement, lawsuits, and debates that take time, and are usually settled with compensation – and a significant amount in legal fees. 

All because there was no proof of copyright stating who the owner or co-owner is, and to what extent. 

#4 Copyright registration by sending it via mail or email to oneself. 

Sending yourself proof of ownership for your creation in a self-addressed envelope (or via email) is a way to gather evidence. It’s known as “poor man’s copyright,” as it’s very cheap. However, it’s also very weak, as it can easily be hacked and manipulated. 

The best way to acquire indisputable proof – if you don’t want to involve your lawyer –  is to trust a service like CopyrightsWorld, which has the technology to provide proof easily and reliably. 

Our platform uses blockchain technology to generate a Certificate of Ownership – an indisputable proof of ownership – allowing a creator to claim damages in case of infringement, or generate revenue by licensing rights. 

#5 Copyright registration is expensive and time-consuming. 

This claim was relevant some time ago. Copyright registration required a long bureaucratic process and a lot of paperwork needing to be filled. Less savvy people couldn’t even do it alone. 

This made the use of a lawyer – or a legal representative – necessary, adding significant cost to the process. 

It is not true anymore, and especially for digitally-created work. Furthermore, there are many very credible copyright registration providers out there that can provide you with a proof of ownership in minutes – and at a very affordable cost. 

We take pride in being one of those providers. We also go one step further, however. While we provide indisputable proof of ownership in just minutes, we can also help you monitor who uses your work, leading to possible revenue opportunities. 

To conclude, it’s very important for all creators to become more aware of their rights, find the most suitable ways to protect their work, and be able to make a living from it. 

To do so, they need to educate themselves further, believe in the value of their work, and take actions to protect their intellectual property. 

The digital era has come to provide opportunities to do this easily, reliably, and affordably. 

Bio 

Georgia is a digital marketing professional who has worked in content marketing for the past 8 years. Seeing copyright infringement take place in digital content, over the years, made her decide to join CopyrightsWorld – a platform that provides services for copyright registration, digital asset protection, and infringement monitoring – and work on offering creators ways to protect their works in the digital era. 

Sources: 

  1. Different brain structures associated with artistic and scientific creativity: a voxel-based morphometry study,  https://www.nature.com/articles/srep42911 

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